"Dark Knight" is the new peak of a summer that brought the gentle sci-fi masterpiece “Wall-E,” the witty and rollicking “Iron Man” and Guillermo del Toro’s latest dispatch from magical realms, "Hellboy II." "Wanted" and "Hancock" took the antihero genre into very different places and stirred considerable debate among critics.This is also the summer that brought back Indiana Jones and (next month) Anakin Skywalker, as well as a revamped Hulk and a revived "X-Files." There was a new, grimmer "Narnia" film and the latest from M. Night Shyamalan, who seems a million years removed way from "The Sixth Sense" these days.
But the best summer ever?
For debate’s sake, take a look at the amazing barrage of films released in 1982, just between May 14 and June 25:
“Blade Runner” The best science fiction movie ever. If you don’t like this movie, I don’t trust you.
“E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” It’s sweeter and smarter than you remember. Is “Wall-E” better? I’d say no.
“Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” J.J. Abrams will pay homage to the Kobayashi Maru in next year’s "Trek" reboot.
“John Carpenter’s The Thing” Roger Ebert called it “a great barf-bag movie.” And he liked it.
“Poltergeist” This was Heather O’Rourke’s sixth sense.
“Conan the Barbarian” What is best in life? "Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of the women."
Update: "Mad Max 2" Thanks to the readers that pointed out that this George Miller film was also released in America in May of 1982. It came out in its native Australia in 1981 and that’s the date by which it is indexed on IMDB so I missed this when I was scanning 1982 films. It’s a classic, of course, and a template for a whole generation of post-apocalyptic films.
Update: "Tron" Anthony Nihilistic (a cheery fellow, I’m guessing) writes in to point out that this brilliant Disney film also came out in the summer of 1982. "That easily tips the scales in favor of 1982," he wrote.
– Geoff Boucher
Photo: Warner Bros. / The Blade Runner Partnership
Update: I made a bad blunder in an earlier version of this post and said that Drew Barrymore was in "Poltergiest," I guess I had "E.T." on the mind while typing. Thanks to the pople that pointed it out.